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Red-Hot Number #1 Ranked Ravens Defense is Up Next for the Saints When They Travel to Baltimore

The New Orleans Saints "Bye Week" is now officially over after yesterday's Week #6 action that took place across the NFL; but now the Black and Gold will have to travel and face a team next Sunday who will be coming off a magnificent defensive performance that nearly set a long-standing NFL record.

That's because the Saints' opponents next week, the host team Baltimore Ravens, are coming off of a 21-0 victory yesterday in which their defensive unit sacked Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota 11 times, which set a franchise record and tied for the second-most amount of sacks EVER in an NFL game.

The Baltimore-Tennessee game yesterday marked the first time that a NFL QB had been sacked that many times since the New York Jets' Greg McElroy was sacked 11 times by the San Diego Chargers in 2012, according to the good folks over at ESPN Stats & Information.

In fact, the Baltimore defense actually finished with more sacks than completions allowed. Mariota was 10-of-15 passing for 117 yards.

Additionally, the suddenly red-hot Ravens defensive unit ended up doubling the number of times that Tennessee's quarterbacks had been sacked this season. Prior to yesterday's "beatdown" in Nashville, Tennessee had allowed nine sacks in their first five games.

The (4-2) Ravens now have the #1 rated defense in the entire NFL, allowing opponents only 270.8 yards of total offense per game. They have yet to give up a TD during the 2nd half of any of their games thus far, and in their last 10 quarters worth of game action, the Ravens defense has only allowed 12 points, has given up zero TD's, has forced 3 turnovers, and has recorded a whopping SEVENTEEN sacks.

Yesterday in their absolute dominance against Mariota and a beleaguered Titans O-Line, the Ravens set the team mark for fewest net passing yards allowed (51) and gave up the second-fewest yards in their franchise's entire history (106).

Baltimore also became the first team to shut out the Titans in Nashville. The last time the franchise was held without a point at home was 1976, when they were still known as the Houston Oilers and were shut out by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Astrodome.

"When you're running in coverage and you hear screams of the sack, you're happy," Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith said to ESPN Titans beat writer Jamison Hensley in the locker room after the game's conclusion.

Hensley noted that Baltimore blitzed Mariota and the Titans offense on 18 drop-backs and sacked him 10 times (56 percent), the most such sacks by any team since ESPN began video tracking in 2006.

Baltimore fell one sack short of tying the NFL record for sacks in a single NFL game, which is shared by four teams. The most recent NFL defense to record 12 sacks in a game was the Dallas Cowboys; in a 1985 contest against those very same Houston Oilers once again.

Photo courtesy of The Baltimore Sun

In total, eight Ravens players recorded sacks, including three by Baltimore linebacker Za'Darius Smith and two by fellow Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor.

"We had fun out there," linebacker Matthew Judon said to Hensley. "You see everybody going off, you want to be a part of it as well."

The Saints offense will certainly have their hands full with the Ravens defense; although the O-Line should be more than well-prepared to keep Brees fully protected.

Photo courtesy of Michael C. Hebert

The Saints O-line has only yielded a total of 12 sacks in 5 games, which is a little over twice a game and ranks them 4th best overall League-wide; along with division rival Carolina and the undefeated (6-0) Los Angeles Rams.

Nevertheless, you can definitely bet that Baltimore will look to "bring the house" against Brees and the the always-perennially top-ranked Saints offense this upcoming Sunday, as they look to slow down New Orleans and its current 4-game winning streak.

If the Saints hope to leave Baltimore with a win, then protecting #9 will become Priority #1 for New Orleans when the ball is kicked off at M&T Bank Stadium....


Big Easy Magazine contributing writer and Saints News Network columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and writer previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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